Travel gadgets are designed to take the stress out of constant business travel but do they help, or hinder, journeys? Three volunteers test a selection of innovations. Here are their verdicts…
1. Gate8 Business Mate, £149 (pictured above)
James Sproule, chief economist and director of policy, IoD
I hate hold luggage and I will avoid it at all costs. Something that fits into the racks at the airport is my ideal case for a trip.
I tend to go on two business trips a month, either in the UK or to Europe. My first impression of the Business Mate was that it’s very well designed and a great idea. For a typical three-day trip I pack a few shirts, some spare clothes, maybe a second suit, along with my laptop and papers and this case was perfect for that.
All items fit perfectly, the manufacturer has clearly thought about the needs of travelling on a two- or three-day trip. It also comes with currency and passport wallets along with shower and laundry bags – perfect.
There are plenty of compartments for spare items and a detachable briefcase where I put my laptop and papers to work on the flight while the bag was stowed away.
I wouldn’t take it on a 10-day trip to the US, but it’s perfect for short-haul flights. gate8-luggage.co.uk
2. Google Translate app, free
Reviewed by Richard Dunnett, associate editor, Director magazine
As a child my mum encouraged me, when travelling abroad, to always try to speak the language. However, schoolboy French only goes so far – especially when travelling further afield.
Google Translate takes away much of the hassle by translating between 90 languages. With mobile data switched on, or a WiFi connection, type or dictate your word, phrase or paragraph and watch Google translate it.
When my diction failed at a Catalonian railway station I found it useful to turn the device 90 degrees to display the phrase in large type – perfect for showing the bemused ticket clerk my requests for an open return.
However, the pièce de résistance comes from the ability to scan large chunks of written text, such as menus, signs or brochures, which the app attempts to translate. It’s not perfect but you get the gist, and it’s likely to stop you receiving some unwanted surprises on your dinner plate. Get Google Translate on Google Play or the App Store on iTunes
3. Duronic luggage scales, £19.99
Reviewed by Rob Young, interim managing director and head of business development, Armstrong Denby
Although I travel a lot less than I used to, I still fly for business around three or four times a year and try to go on holiday at least twice – so I’m all too familiar with packing to a luggage allowance.
I chose these scales for my recent trip from Manchester to Spain and I was surprised at how easy they were to use – there was no set-up required, you just switch on and weigh your bag. They come with instructions that are easy to follow but they are almost not needed.
The product was also very robust and strong, and I really liked the design. The scales are very stylish – they look like Apple has designed them! They were also very portable and take up little space when travelling, so are perfect if you want to check your luggage again on the way home.
Overall, I was very impressed by the scales and would definitely continue to use them for my travels.
Rob Young is a member of IoD Yorkshire